Archive for Monday, March 10, 2008

Mother of 5 getting help in re-entry program

March 10, 2008

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At 37, a mother of five children has turned her life around, thanks to the Shawnee County Reentry Program.

"You have to decide for yourself what you want to do, and from there, the program is helpful in achieving that," said Jeanette Brown, of Topeka.

In June, Brown was released from the Topeka Correctional Facility after serving four years.

"I ended up catching him with another woman and ended up flipping out, and I stabbed him, and so that's how I ended up in prison."

Facing a maximum sentence of 15 years, Brown said she pleaded guilty and received a 55-month sentence.

Leaving her children - now ages 9 to 17 - was tough.

"That was the hardest thing for me. Just being a mom and knowing the choices that I made put me there," she said.

While incarcerated, she took classes through the re-entry program such as family reunification and life skills.

"Everything that you can possibly think that you will be faced with, they had a class for it," she said.

She said a visit from an ex-offender made a lasting impression. He suggested that she find support or she'd be back in jail. He also said life wouldn't be easy on the other side.

"He just told it how it is," Brown said. "I really got a lot out of that class from him."

Brown found support from two people associated with the re-entry program.

She was matched with a prison nurse who not only became her mentor but like an extended family member. On Friday afternoon, Brown was baby-sitting the mentor's grandchildren.

"It's somebody who makes a difference," Brown said.

The other person is her parole officer.

"I wouldn't trade him for nothing in the world," Brown said. "He gets on my nerves, but he is somebody who pushes you to your limits because he knows you can do better. If you feel you can't do it by yourself, he will be there, right by your side, helping you."

She said those associated with the correctional facility seemed more like social workers than prison guards - willing to give prisoners a second chance.

That's the goal of the re-entry program, which started as a pilot program in Shawnee County in 2003. Sedgwick County just launched a re-entry program last year and Wyandotte plans to open one in early summer.

"Instead of locking them up and throwing away the key, the state is looking at more of a case-management approach with these individuals, trying to reteach them some more positive social skills," said Sharidy Fluke, director of the Shawnee County Reentry Program.

Program officials work with prisoners for about 18 months before release and at least six months after.

So far, it has worked for Brown. She is a full-time mother and baker. In December, she finished the re-entry program.

"I am doing good," she said. "I've been on my job for a year since I got my job while I was on work release. I have my kids, and I am looking for a bigger place. I am just facing everyday problems like everybody else does."

Comments

shnirk 7 years, 2 months ago

this is a great program but here's a question. Is this program for women only? I would be pleased, if not however, social programs for men are few and far between. Maybe this would explain the revolving door for men.

Tammy Copp-Barta 7 years, 2 months ago

Congratulations to you, Ms. Brown! I wish you only the best as you move through the rest of your life and put the past behind you. Your children need you. You are their role model and sounds like you've found the right path for you and your family!

Kat Christian 7 years, 2 months ago

Congratulation to you Ms Brown. Goes to show NO MAN is worth getting upset over. If a man wants another women let him have her. Nine times out of ten she isn't what he thought she was and they become miserable anyway. So let the dog lay in the mud while you go one to big and better things. Beside no man is more important then our children. If the creep can't be a real man they dump them and move on. Life is too short for this sort of none sense in our lives.

But to expand on this program I hope it helps my son. Only thing he may go back into jail for non-payment of child support while he was in jail. He was paying child support before he was incarcerated but the Judge doesn't want to give him a chance to get back on his feet to begin paying again and he's only been out of jail a week. Go figure??? So how does one over come this?

coolmom 7 years, 2 months ago

child support offenders tend to get a number of chances. i do agree however that being in jail limits the ability to pay but thinking of the child....excuses dont buy milk.

Confrontation 7 years, 2 months ago

I'd recommend not having children that you can't afford. That would solve the "I can't afford to pay my child support" problem.

mom_of_three 7 years, 2 months ago

Sounds like she has the right attitude to be successful and a role model to her kids. She made a mistake and she paid for her mistake and she gets a 2nd chance. Like it should be.

Catbacker 7 years, 2 months ago

Run her through KASPERS...it wasn't one mistake. She had 8 offenses leading to her latest bit. Yep, latest...she had been locked up previously. Her "second chance" equates to about her 12th chance as DOC is far, far more lenient on women. She should have done more than 4 for being a felon in possession of a gun (twice)...let alone trying to kill a guy.

TtownKUlivin 7 years, 2 months ago

Here's a blurb from a description of the program I found online: "Eligible participants must meet the following criteria; housed at Lansing (male) or Topeka (female) Correctional Facilities, returning to Shawnee County, have 18 months left to serve of their sentence, and are considered a high risk for re-offending."

mom_of_three 7 years, 2 months ago

Okay, well, she got one more chance, and sounds like she might make the most of it this time.

shnirk 7 years, 2 months ago

Gee, mom of three. If this would have been a guy that attacked a woman and had the same backround as this woman I have a feeling ( correct me if I am wrong) you would have suggested locking him up forever..are you about "second" chances or only second chances for the "poor woman" "victim"?

oxandale 7 years, 2 months ago

I went and checked out KASPER, and wow, she certainly has been convicted alot of things.. possession of opiates/opium; taxation;drugs eviedence of tax payment; criminal possession firem felon within 10 years; burglar y; aggravated assault, aggraveted battery....all of these things since 2000.

shnirk 7 years, 2 months ago

Holy crap batman..she has all that Oxandale?? If that is indeed the case, then she doesnt deserve anything but a jail cell. I don't want to be the real victim here. The one that gets robbed or shot when she resorts back to crime after being set free from the probation officer she really doesn't like. This is garbage!! she isn't a hero, she is a crime waiting to happen, want proof?? check her record! and don't get me started on her having custody of her kids. It seems the only way people get a "second" chance is if they have a vagina. Social program indeed!! If she wants reform, let her help her fellow prisoners while I am safe on the other side of the bars.

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